Indiana football coaching buzz had us calling Hoosier Deep Throat for answers, but he wasn’t answering his phone. Athletic director Fred Glass wasn’t answering coaching questions.
We think not.
Glass was at IU’s victory over Savannah State instead of hitting the road searching for a coach. Did that mean the search was over and an announcement was imminent? Rumors swirl that something could happen by early this week; that Glass’s efficiency was making a mockery of a long search.
Not that we’re pushing rumors.
ESPN reported that, as sure as Ronald Reagan is carved into Mount Rushmore, Glass met with Oklahoma offensive coordinator Kevin Wilson. Except Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops denied it -- really, really emphatically.
Consider, for your perusal, that an Oklahoma coach was coming to IU. Are you kidding? Does that freeze your blood? Didn’t the Hoosiers try a Sooner once before with basketball-ruining consequences?
Wait. Wilson is no Kelvin Sampson. He keeps his phone calls under control. He is a highly regarded offensive coordinator of a powerhouse program that just won the Big 12 title game. He’s won awards as the nation’s top assistant coach. In 2008 his offense scored an NCAA record 716 points with Sam Bradford as the quarterback. He also was the offensive coordinator at Northwestern and Miami of Ohio. He might not be THE guy for Indiana, but he represents the kind of guy IU is likely to get -- talented, hungry and eager for a challenge.
The new coach will get all the challenges anyone could want at Indiana.
Glass mentioned that one of those challenges would not be a lack of in-state talent, and he’s right. Indiana high schools will never surpass Florida and Texas for superstar numbers, but the quality has improved. You can win if you get some of the top in-state players each year. The key is getting them, plus some strong players from the Midwest.
In fact, it might be a good idea to at least target Wisconsin for offensive linemen. That seems to work for the Badgers.
Anyway, ESPN.com also tossed out names we’ve heard before -- Wisconsin offensive coordinator Paul Chryst and Michigan State offensive coordinator Don Treadwell. Treadwell produced the Big Ten’s most balanced offense with tailback Edwin Baker (No. 3 in the Big Ten with 1187 rushing yards) and quarterback Kirk Cousins (No. 4 in the Big Ten with 2,705 passing yards). Treadwell also was the offensive coordinator at Cincinnati and Ball State. Treadwell has been a finalist for MAC jobs. Chryst, who ran the offense that ran up 83 points on IU last month, was a contender for the Purdue job that Danny Hope got.
Wait. Now comes word that it wasn't Chryst, but Wisconsin defensive coordinator David Doeren who Glass supposedly visited after flying to Madison this past week. This is equal opportunity at its best because the one area Indiana has to improve upon if it wants to win is defense. Either the head coach has to be a defensive coaching stud, or the new defensive coordinator has to be. And then he has to recruit defensive studs. We can’t state that more strongly.
So where are we in this search? Still in limbo. The sooner IU names a coach, the sooner the new guy can start recruiting the players already committed, going after new players, and convincing the current Hoosiers that the program is in good hands.
Glass wants to be fast, but he also wants to be right. The last thing he and the program need is a coaching dud.
Oh, to be clear, Mount Rushmore does NOT include Ronald Reagan.
Is Indiana ready for Kentucky? We’ll know that next Saturday when the 7-1 Hoosiers head to Lexington’s Rupp Arena. For now we know they were plenty ready for Savannah State. They won 79-57 with efficient offense and stifling defense.
They are 7-0 at home, 0-1 on the road. But that loss at Boston College should steel them for what they’ll face at Rupp Arena. Kentucky, it should be noted, is not the powerhouse it was last year. It lost at North Carolina, which has been a disappointment this season to follow last year’s disappointment. What this means is Kentucky is not the unbeatable foe. IU has a week to prepare. So we shall see.
In case you missed it, Indiana’s volleyball team is making history. It’s in the NCAA tourney Sweet 16 for the first time in school history. The Hoosiers (23-11) won a pair of five-set matches to advance, including Saturday’s thriller over No. 19 Tennessee. They won the fifth set 15-13. They will travel to Dayton to play either USC or San Diego.